Look It Square In The Face...
The four-square-mile Green Zone, the one place in Baghdad where foreigners are reasonably safe, could be a showcase of American values and abilities. Instead the American enclave is a trash-strewn wasteland of Mad Max-style fortifications. The traffic lights don't work because no one has bothered to fix them. The garbage rarely gets collected. Some of the worst ambassadors in U.S. history are the GIs at the Green Zone's checkpoints. They've repeatedly punched Iraqi ministers, accidentally shot at visiting dignitaries and behave (even on good days) with all the courtesy of nightclub bouncers--to Americans and Iraqis alike. Not that U.S. soldiers in Iraq have much to smile about. They're overworked, much ignored on the home front and widely despised in Iraq, with little to look forward to but the distant end of their tours--and in most cases, another tour soon to follow. Many are reservists who, when they get home, often face the wreckage of careers and family.
This is how it is really going in Iraq. This is how it has always been going in Iraq from the first moment our troops crossed the border. This is how it will continue to go in Iraq for the forseeable future, and it is bleeding our volunteer military white.
The Weapons of Mass Destruction, the "shock and awe" bombardment, the Mission Accomplished, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the "planting the seeds of democracy" have all been a masquerade, have all been televised entertainment, have all been cheap thrills for an audience halfway around the world. The above quotation is the reality.
We lost this war the moment we supposedly won it. And we lost it because we weren't ready to win it: we weren't prepared to make Iraq work, and we weren't prepared for the obvious resistance to our rule. All the rest is smoke and mirrors, when it is not outright lies.
We might have lost it in any case. An insurgency was perfectly forseeable, though our idiot leaders didn't forsee it, and an insurgency is a tough nut to crack under any conditions. But our leaders have actually created a model insurgency, the best insurgency there could possibly be--armed beyond their wildest dreams with the Iraqi army ordinance that we didn't secure from theft, and organized by the experienced Iraqi soldiers whom we summarily booted out of job after we "won" our war.
We made this war because the President wanted to, not because we had to. That is why we lost it. He wanted to because Iraq was the cheapest shot the military could take--since his father had already done half the job for him in 1991--and the best and least expensive way to prove to the world that we were serious about destroying "The Axis of Evil". That's all he thought about, and if his advisors thought any more about further consequences, they either were ignored, or, more likely, they prudently kept it to themselves.
It was wrong from the start and it will be wrong to the finish which will be ignominous.
The evidence is plain, and the two people who cooked it up, Tony Blair and George Bush, are so openly implicated that they no longer can deny the record of what occurred. They now haven't even the face to claim that the damming evidence, the Downing Street Memo is false. They can only try to spin it:
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, I can respond to that very easily. No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all. And let me remind you that that memorandum was written before we then went to the United Nations.
Yes, Mr. Prime Minister, well before you went to the United Nations. When you read the actual Memo, that is precisely the point:
Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.....The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.
That was October 1, 2002. This is very important to remember.--ed.
The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.
Also very important--ed.
The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action....
The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors....If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work....
The political strategy to give the military plan space to work. How could it be more obvious?
Let's see what Prime Minister Blair had to say about it yesterday:
Now, no one knows more intimately the discussions that we were conducting as two countries at the time than me. And the fact is we decided to go to the United Nations and went through that process, which resulted in the November 2002 United Nations resolution, to give a final chance to Saddam Hussein to comply with international law. He didn't do so. And that was the reason why we had to take military action.
Yes, Mr. Prime Minister, you did work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors, just like your memo says. And it did help with the legal justification for the use of force. And that was your political strategy to give your military plan space to work. You cooked it all up beforehand. Period.
You are the acknowledged world master of spin, but this one can't be spun away.
The political strategy to give the military plan space to work....
George W. Bush is a liar. Here are a selection of the lies, starting precisely on the date the Memo indicated, October 1, 2002:
Bush: "Of course, I haven’t made up my mind we’re going to war with Iraq." [10/1/02]
Bush: "You said we’re headed to war in Iraq – I don’t know why you say that. I hope we’re not headed to war in Iraq. I’m the person who gets to decide, not you. I hope this can be done peacefully." [12/31/02]
Bush: "I want to remind you that it’s his choice to make as to whether or not we go to war. It’s Saddam’s choice. He’s the person that can make the choice of war and peace." [3/6/03]
Bush: "Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it." [3/17/03]
No. Every measure was not taken to avoid war. Every measure was implemented to provoke it, with a political strategy to erode any resistance to it.
A political strategy to give the military plan space to work.
If you love this country and what it stands for write, call, or e-mail your representatives in Congress asking them to investigate the Downing Street Memo, and its implications. If you love this country write your local newspaper, or the newspaper you read, or the news magazines that come into your home, and ask why the Downing Street Memo has not been properly covered by them up to now. If you love this country and you blog, blog about it, keep blogging about it, and do not let anyone forget about it.
UPDATE: Here's something else you can do.